World War II at Sea: A Global History

World War II at Sea: A Global History

by Craig L. Symonds

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Overview

Author of Lincoln and His Admirals (winner of the Lincoln Prize), The Battle of Midway (Best Book of the Year, Military History Quarterly), and Operation Neptune, (winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature), Craig L. Symonds has established himself as one of the finest naval historians at work today. World War II at Sea represents his crowning achievement: a complete narrative of the naval war and all of its belligerents, on all of the world's oceans and seas, between 1939 and 1945.

Opening with the 1930 London Conference, Symonds shows how any limitations on naval warfare would become irrelevant before the decade was up, as Europe erupted into conflict once more and its navies were brought to bear against each other. World War II at Sea offers a global perspective, focusing on the major engagements and personalities and revealing both their scale and their interconnection: the U-boat attack on Scapa Flow and the Battle of the Atlantic; the "miracle" evacuation from Dunkirk and the pitched battles for control of Norway fjords; Mussolini's Regia Marina-at the start of the war the fourth-largest navy in the world-and the dominance of the Kidö Butai and Japanese naval power in the Pacific; Pearl Harbor then Midway; the struggles of the Russian Navy and the scuttling of the French Fleet in Toulon in 1942; the landings in North Africa and then Normandy. Here as well are the notable naval leaders-FDR and Churchill, both self-proclaimed "Navy men," Karl Dönitz, François Darlan, Ernest King, Isoroku Yamamoto, Erich Raeder, Inigo Campioni, Louis Mountbatten, William Halsey, as well as the hundreds of thousands of seamen and officers of all nationalities whose live were imperiled and lost during the greatest naval conflicts in history, from small-scale assaults and amphibious operations to the largest armadas ever assembled.

Many have argued that World War II was dominated by naval operations; few have shown and how and why this was the case. Symonds combines precision with story-telling verve, expertly illuminating not only the mechanics of large-scale warfare on (and below) the sea but offering wisdom into the nature of the war itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190243678
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/02/2018
Pages: 792
Sales rank: 45,775
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.20(d)

About the Author

Craig L. Symonds is Ernest J. King Distinguished Professor of Maritime History at the U.S. Naval War College and also Professor Emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy where he taught for thirty years and served as Department Chair.

Table of Contents

Prologue: London, 1930

PART I. THE EUROPEAN WAR
1. Unterseeboote
2. Panzerschiffe
3. Norway
4. France Falls
5. The Regia Marina
6. The War on Trade, I
7. The Bismarck

PART II. THE WAR WIDENS
8. The Rising Sun
9. A Two Ocean Navy
10. Infamy
11. Rampage
12. The War on Trade, II

PART III. WATERSHED
13. Stemming the Tide
14. Two Beleaguered Islands
15. A Two Ocean War
16. The Tipping Point
17. The War on Trade, III

PART IV. ALLIED COUNTERATTACK
18. Airplanes and Convoys
19. Husky
20. Twilight of Two Navies
21. Breaking the Shield
22. Large Slow Target

PART V. RECKONING
23. D-Day
24. Seeking the Decisive Battle
25. Leyte Gulf
26. The Noose Tightens
27. Denouement

Epilogue: Tokyo Bay, 1945

Afterword

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World War II at Sea: A Global History 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JEarlM More than 1 year ago
World War II at Sea from Craig Symonds is a comprehensive (not exhaustive) history of the naval war in its entirety told chronologically. In other words, a section about the North Atlantic will be followed by a section on the Pacific if there were events that occurred simultaneously or one right after the other. So told as the war unfolded, which means taking into account what is happening in other parts of the world. The purpose of this book is to tell the story in a more realistic manner than the books that have focused on specific battles or theaters, not to break new ground with a new piece of information. Having one comprehensive narrative is breaking new ground and the failure to realize that is not the fault of either Symonds or the book. Those volumes are tremendously important because they are so focused but they also often lose sight of the big picture: the war as a whole. This volume places the war as a whole at the center and shows how the war at sea unfolded in all waters and for all navies. To criticize this book for not getting every bit of minutiae right is petty at best and empty chest-pounding at worst (and most likely). There are thousands of books with the minutiae, enjoy them, they are wonderful books. But this wasn't trying to be like them. I would recommend this to anyone interested in World War II, from introductory to historian. As an introduction it allows a person to have a perspective on the battles and events they have or will learn more about. For a historian, professional or amateur, this serves as a reminder that the war was not a collection of separate battles in isolation but very much a series of events that were influenced by previous and concurrent events and thus affected future events. We often, when looking at specific moments, lose track of the whole. This book puts the whole back in focus. In doing so, it will allow the more focused books to be better understood beyond the simple-minded regurgitation of numbers and gun size. Reviewed from a copy made available through Goodreads First Reads.